Best Running Shoes for Hiking

11 Best Running Shoes for Hiking

Hiking is becoming increasingly popular thanks to the global pandemic. It can be either an easy or challenging exercise, and definitely helps you get out and appreciate nature. It can be one of the best cross-training activities for runners as it uses the same motions, just with less impact. What’s more, it’s cheap and available to anyone. The only real equipment you need is a capable and comfortable shoe.

Whether your plan to run, walk, or do a bit of both, you need a running shoe built for hiking. Hiking shoes will offer the necessary support and protection to keep you out on the trails and injury free. We’ve broken down the best features of the 11 best running shoes for hiking so you can be sure to find the shoe that best meets your needs.

Number 11

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus Trail

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus Trail

Nike has been stepping up their game in the trail show category the past couple of years. The Air Zoom Pegasus Trail is one of the models they’ve taken from the roads to trails. As such, this lightweight trail runner performs well on the road or on mild to moderate trails but not necessarily meant for highly technical or widely varied terrain. To provide well balanced cushion, Nike uses a full-length piece of React foam in the midsole. In the most recent version, Nike has removed the Zoom Air units, but the ride remains well cushioned. The large stack height and 10 mm toe drop help absorb impact, while remaining flexible through transitions. There is no rock plate and a minimal toe bumper that further solidify this as an excellent mild trail runner. The toe box has gotten roomier in the latest version for a comfortable ride. The upper has two layers. The inner layer gives the shoe a secure sock-like feel while the top layer is made from a breathable mesh. The 3 mm lugs are multidirectional for good traction but have a flat tip (meant to work like a bike tire). Particularly loose or rocky tails might be a bit slippery. The heel pull tab and “faux gaiter,” are nice aesthetic touches. The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus is a great choice for runners looking for a beginner trail running shoe.

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Number 10

Saucony Peregrine

Saucony Peregrine

The Saucony Peregrine is a comfortable and responsive shoe designed specifically for trails. The Peregrine has excellent grip and is highly durable. Saucony has upgraded the latest version with its impressive PWRRUN cushioning in the midsole. This responsive cushioning combined with the new FormFit upper, give the shoe a locked-in, snug fit. The mesh upper is heavily overlayed for even more protection. The heel fits securely (maybe too securely for some). Because of the focus on performing on trails, the Peregrine has a full-length rock plate that offers excellent protection against rocks and debris. The outsole features aggressive lugs made of Saucony’s PWRTRAC rubber which offer superior traction on technical terrain. However, the lugs do not perform well on roads or hard surfaces so if you’re looking for a road-to-trail shoe, this is not it. Saucony also added 12 portholes to the outsole platform to help keep the shoe dry while running through water. The Peregrine has a 4 mm toe drop and plenty of room in the toe box. This shoe is optimized for trails, making it one of the best trail running shoes for hiking.

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Number 9

Brooks Caldera

Brooks Caldera

Like most of Brooks’ shoes, you can expect a highly cushioned and comfortable ride in the Caldera. Like the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus, this trails runner is a good choice if you plan to move from roads to more mild trails but not the best choice for highly technical terrain. Although it is well cushioned, the Caldera remains lightweight thanks to Brooks’s BioMoGo DNA EVA foam in the midsole. The shoe is both flexible and responsive, in part because of the lack of rock plate. It’s a great shoe for slower recovery runs but not necessarily built for speed. However, the Caldera does offer good protection against rocks and roots. The most recent version got a lift, thanks to an additional 3 inches of stack height. You can feel the benefit of this extra height heading downhill. The durable engineered mesh upper with overlays will keep your foot secure, while the wide toe box provides room for toes to splay. The heel fits snugly with a well-padded heel collar. The outsole is made from Brooks’ sticky TrailTrack rubber. There is an integrated Gaiter Tab at heel with a hook and loop to secure gaiters. This neutral trail shoe has a 4 mm toe drop and is a great choice for any Brooks’ fan.

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Number 8

New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro

New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro

The New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro is a good-looking shoe. It’s also one of New Balance’s most cushioned trail shoes so it manages to be both plush and responsive while absorbing shock. As you would expect from a well-cushioned runner, it has a 10 mm toe drop and is on the heavier side. The midsole features a single piece of New Balance’s Fresh Foam for a smooth and responsive ride. The newest edition has an upper made from a highly durable TPU coated fabric with a softer mesh layer underneath. The multi-layers help to protect the foot from dirt and debris but also maintains good comfort and breathability. There is no rock plate in the Hierro. However, because of the ample cushioning, it’s not really necessary. The toe bumper keeps toes well protected against roots and rocks. There is a 8 mm toe drop with a roomy toe box. The Vibram outsole is dense with small, multi-directional lugs for good traction. However, some runners felt the thick sole prevented good ground feel and snappiness while running. The New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro is a great choice for runners looking to head out for long runs on moderate trails.

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Number 7

Hoka One One Evo Mafate

Hoka One One Evo Mafate

Hoka One One sneakers are becoming increasingly popular and with good reason. Not only are they ultra-comfortable, but they also perform well. The Evo Mafate, with its grippy lugs and high stack height (34 mm at the heel), make it one of their most durable hiking shoes. The Evo Mafate has all the elements you’d expect from a Hoka One One shoe including a highly cushioned midsole, Meta-Rocker geometry, and a surprisingly light weight. The upper is made of Hoka One One’s MATRYX fabric that is seriously strong and protective but also a lightweight mesh material. You won’t experience any puncturing from rocks or debris, but you might feel their impact. There is no rock plate, but like the Hierro, with the ample midsole cushioning and high heel stack, you won’t miss it. The roomy toe box gives toes room to splay. The outsole is made from sticky Vibram Megagrip with thoughtfully placed, 5 mm lugs so you can hike confidently on all kinds of terrain. Transitions are smooth and feel springy, thanks in part to the Meta-Rocker but also Hoka One One’s patented R-BOUND midsole material. The Mafate can be used on road-to-trail runs but you’ll really feel the benefits on rocky trails. It’s one of the best trail runners on the market.

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Number 6

Solomon Sense Ride

Solomon Sense Ride

The Solomon Sense Ride is an excellent choice for runner’s looking for a reliable, durable trail shoe. The Sense Ride is rugged, durable and comfortable. It features Solomon’s Optivibe cushioning in midsole. Optivibe is a combination of Dow Infuse Olefin foam and Solomon’s JPAD (a rubberized EVA heel insert that follows the foot’s natural shape). The result is reduced shock and vibration and excellent protection without loss of flexibility. For additional protection, there is a segmented ProFeel rock plate in the forefoot and Rear Raised midsole sidewalls. The upper is made from debris-resistant mesh and Solomon’s Sensi Fit overlays for support and structure. The outsole features aggressive lugs made from grippy Contragrip for good traction. The toe box is adequate and the Quicklace system is an added bonus. The 8 mm drop is standard for a shoe with this cushioning and support. The Sense Ride does have some weight to it so while not designed to go fast, it will go the distance, making it a great choice for ultra-distances. There is also a GoreTex version (GTX) for even more protection. For a shoe of this quality, it is very reasonably priced making it one of the best budget trail running shoes for hiking.

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Number 5

Altra Lone Peak

Altra Lone Peak

The Lone Peak is Altra’s flagship trail shoe and stays true to Altra’s focus on creating running shoes that compliment the foot’s natural motion. In addition to Altra’s standard zero drop, the Lone Peak also has their signature wide toe box giving your toes plenty of room to splay. The Lone Peak is highly durable with a quick-drying mesh upper, reinforced toe cap and heel cup, and drainage ports. Each of these features provides protection against rocks, debris and even water. The midsole is packed with dual layer EVA foam and Altra’s A-Bound foam with StoneGuard for moderate cushioning and responsiveness and protection. The outsole is made from Altra’s patented MaxTrac Rubber for maximum grip and traction on tough terrain. The multidirectional lugs are rugged and add additional grip and traction. The Lone Peak is also equipped with a gaiter trap for strapless gaiters. Unlike some other hiking shoes, the Lone Peak has enough responsiveness and zip to get you going fast. For those who prefer steep trails or live in particularly wet climates, you can confidently pick up the pace. The Altra Lone Peak is one of the few, but one of the best zero drop trail running shoes for hiking.

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Number 4

Nike Terra Kiger

Nike Terra Kiger

The Nike Terra Kiger is one of the best hiking and running shoes for women or men because it is both fast and durable. Although they are almost universally touted as the running shoe giant, Nike hasn’t always been synonymous with trail runners. The Terra Kiger is helping to change that. This shoe is both fast and lightweight, as well as rugged and stable. The Terra Kiger is able to serve double duty thanks to the lightweight but energized Nike React foam in the midsole. In addition to this highly responsive foam, it also has a rock plate that offers maximum protection and neither slows, nor weighs, you down. The outsole is made with high abrasion rubber in the forefoot and heel and has multidirectional lugs for extra grip. There’s a sticky rubber pod for even extra traction and durability. However, in wet conditions, the rubber sole can become slippery. The seamless perforated upper is breathable yet protective. The skin overlays are secure and comfortable. The Nike Terra Kiger is one of the rare shoes that feels like a road runner but has enough technology and protection for trails. As one of the best Nike shoes for running and hiking, it is definitely worth a try.

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Number 3

Brooks Cascadia

Brooks Cascadia

The Brooks Cascadia is a one of the most popular trail running shoes as it is comfortable, versatile, and durable. You can hop from road to trail with ease in this well-cushioned work horse. It is super stable and offers excellent traction. The Cascadia features Brooks’ BioMoGo DNA foam in the midsole for ample cushioning. They also added a built-in ballistic rock plate for protection against rocks and roots. To help keep your foot stable on uneven terrain, the Cascadia is also equipped with Brooks’ Pivot Post System. The upper is made from an engineered mono-loop mesh and 3D Fit Print for protection, breathability and drainage. The upper is comfortable and will keep your foot secure as you bound up and down trails. The outsole is made from Brooks’ TrailTack sticky rubber that provides excellent grip. To further improve traction, there are multi-directional lugs that are durable and rugged. The toe box is somewhat snug but not uncomfortably so, while the 8 mm drop is standard for a cushioned and stable runner. While the latest edition is lighter than previous models, it’s not exactly “lightweight.” The Brooks Cascadia is an excellent choice for trail runners looking for a cushioned but protective shoe that can keep them running for miles.

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Number 2

La Sportiva Bushido

La Sportiva Bushido

The La Sportiva Bushido is one of the best trail running shoes for hiking. It offers superior traction and stability. It is perfect for runners looking for a neutral shoe that can perform well on rugged trails. The Bushido fits snugly and will have you feeling connected to the ground with moderate cushioning. The midsole is packed with compression-molded EVA foam which makes the newest model feel a bit springier that previous models. (Though it still may not be responsive enough for some.) The mesh upper features thermal adhesive microfiber with high-frequency welded overlays for maximum foot protection. The TPU toe cap is particularly effective at protecting toes from roots and rocks. The heel was also redesigned to fix slippage problems in previous models. The new more secure heel cup has a shallow heel collar leaving the Achilles free from chaffing and rubbing. The FriXion rubber outsole has multi-directional, wrap-around lugs that provide ultimate traction on even the most technical trails. The La Sportiva Bushido looks futuristic and will have you running confidently through tough technical terrain. It’s one of the best running shoes for serious hiking.

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Number 1

Hoka One One Speedgoat

Hoka One One Speedgoat

The Hoka One One Speedgoat tops our list as the best running shoe for hiking. Like all Hoka One One’s the Speedgoat has maximum cushioning that manages to feel both soft and responsive. But like a solid trail runner, it has great protection, stability, and traction as well. The midsole is made from EVA foam while the rock plate provides excellent protection from debris on the trails or roads. Although it is a plush ride, it still manages to feel well balanced and responsive. Hoka One One’s standard roomy toe box sits at the end of a small 4mm toe drop. The outsole is made from Vibram Megagrip rubber with molded 5mm rubber lugs to ensure excellent traction and durability on some of the roughest, uneven terrain. The breathable yet rugged mesh upper prevents small rocks and debris from entering the shoe. The 3D-printed overlays help keep your foot secure and give a locked-in fit. The sharp colors make it one of the best women’s best women's trail running shoes for hiking. It’s has a bit of a higher price tag, but it’s definitely worth it if you are looking for one of the most comfortable and capable trail runners.

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